One of the first persons to sit down and try to work out what managers do (and what they should do) was a Frenchman called Henri Fayol. Fayol was a mining engineer who became the managing director of an ailing coal mining firm and turned it into a highly successful coal and steel business. All this took place between 1888 and 1918, when he retired. In 1916, after many years of thinking about the job of the manager, he published a small book called General and Industrial Management. Henry Fayol was years ahead of his time in linking strategy and organizational theory and in emphasizing the need for management development and the qualities of leadership. Igor Ansoff, in Corporate Strategy (1965) said that Fayol ‘anticipated imaginatively and soundly most of the more recent analyses of modern business practice,’ although Peter Drucker in his great compendium Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practice (1973), criticized the application of Fayol’s functional approach to larger and more complex organizations than the one he knew and managed. Oddly enough, it was years before a translation appeared in English, even though it contains a great deal of wisdom and sense.
Part of the book deals with the ‘elements’ or ‘functions’ of management, and Fayol identifies five such functions. They are:
• Forecasting and Planning
From his own long experience in Industry, Fayol identified fourteen General Principles of Management, or guidelines, and he emphasized that these are not rigid but have to be adapted to suit the particular needs of the situation.